Author Topic: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?  (Read 21181 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« on: February 01, 2015, 11:31:05 AM »
  It was suggested in another thread that this might be a good topic for discussion,  in it I posted my opinion that small pocket sized PSK's constructed around Altoid and similar sized containers were more flights of fancy than they were serious attempts at securing realistic help in the event of an emergency survival situation in which a person might face being stranded for day or more without necessary resources such as water, fire, shelter, food, or medical attention.
 I will stipulate that I do agree that anything that someone carries with them for such a situation is better than having nothing,  but I would suggest that in most real wilderness survival situations the size and quantity of the items able to be carried in such a small kit would probably not be enough for most people to insure survival.
 That said,  we are privy to quite a few reality survival shows today that depict survival specialist that get dropped off in harsh and often dangerous and remote places with nothing but the clothes on their backs and sometimes not even that,  and they manage though uncomfortable to survive for anywhere from several days to several weeks,  but it must be recognized that they are highly skilled and experienced  specialist in the field of survival (a fact that no doubt some of us might argue),  much more so than the average woods bum.
 So, with that thought in mind,  do you carry a PSK when you leave home,  do you carry one only when you're in the bush,  if you have a kit,  what survival items do you keep in it ?

 I've recounted on this forum a time or two of an experience I had when I was much younger while on a hunting trip,  I did a lot of things wrong,  got myself twisted in a freak white out snow storm and had to admit to myself that I didn't know which way to go,  if I choose the wrong direction I'd be really screwd, two directions would keep me in the woods for a day or two,  one direction would bring me deeper into the wilderness and across the Canadian border,  only one direction would bring me back to where I needed to be,  my compass had failed and all I could see around me was cedar swamp and a raging blizzard.
 When I left camp that morning I thought I was pretty well equiped for the day,  it was looking like a sunny day, temps in the +40's,  I was dressed for the weather, was going to scout in the morning and meet my three buddies for lunch back at the truck to discuss what sign we had seen for the afternoon hunt,  I had my rifle, half a dozen cartridges, my bird & trout knife,  deer drag line, some TP,  a couple of candy bars, half a pack of smokes, lighter,  canteen full of water, USGI canteen cup,  a couple of tea bags and a packet of hot coco mix,  what more could I need,  I was soon to find out,  it wasn't near as much as I needed and a lot less than I would have wanted.
 My kit today is a lot different than it was on that day in my life.

  I invite your views.     :fire1: 
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Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2015, 01:49:23 PM »
Recently survived a miserable cold night soaking wet and not being able to reach land on a SUP.  Gear lost in the dark. 

Just got back from another 3 day Pot and Machete.  Pot, machete, clothes on your back.

yeah... yet another PSK change immediately.  No it won't fit in an Altoids can...LMAO.  Who came up with that?

Unless you live in Central FL, my kit won't jive with your needs.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Justin Pierce

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2015, 02:04:24 PM »
I think building an altoid tin psk is a hobby people enjoy, but for me it's not really  useful or comforting item to have. So I guess the short answer is, no I don't have one.
What I take varies greatly. My needs when I'm 3 miles off shore on the ice are way different than a July canoe trip.
Most survival kits are more about comfort and convenience than bare bones survival.
I can survive for a long time miserable and uncomfortable. I'd rather thrive in comfort, and an Altoids tin ain't gonna do it for me.

Offline Draco

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2015, 03:33:38 PM »

 So, with that thought in mind,  do you carry a PSK when you leave home,  do you carry one only when you're in the bush,  if you have a kit,  what survival items do you keep in it ?

  I invite your views.     :fire1: 

I think this is a very healthy topic.  So let me start by answering your questions then move on to my philosophy and observations. 

Yes I carry a PSK of sorts.  Not one of those altoids tins stuffed full of items like razor blades and Gerber Shard Keychain Tool (my vote for most useless tool ever.)  Everything I carry is full size with the exception of the button compass and the squeeze light. 
- SAK Fieldmaster (whatever model I choose it must have saw, scissors, knife, and awe)
- Ferrocerium rod
- Jewelers loop (very powerful magnifying glass that will start fires on even marginal sun days.)
- button compass
- Proton squeeze light
- One liter Whirl Pack Bag
- Water purification tablets (chlorine dioxide type) 
- bug wipes
- wet wipes

I carry it all the time but mostly because I would forget it if the plan was to put it in my pocket as I was getting out of the car heading into the woods.  It really is just like my firearm and is a part of me.  Kit on one side firearm on the other balances thing out nicely. 

Now is this the only thing I take secure in the knowledge that I could survive for years in the backcountry on these few items?  Heck no.  It would suck to be stuck overnight with those few items.  When I am heading into the backcountry I have one of four packs that has better gear for survival if needed.  So my philosophy is my PSK is only if I get seperated from my pack.  I guess to be honest I have also used the flashlight out of it when the one I was using died due to my stupidity of not putting fresh batteries in it before leaving.  A side note on this is that little flashlight was better than nothing but it did not throw out light far enough to easily see where the trail went in the fall when covered by leaves.  My kit is intended to do only two things.  Let me know the directions and make a fire.

Back in the day I had one of those hollow handle knives with the gear in it.  Well I learned a lesson there.  The wire saw broke about about three strokes and the rest of the stuff in there was just as much junk.  I think that is what really turned me off to the idea of a altoids tin idea.  Really most people who are found alive are found within 72 hours.  Not much need for snare wire or fishing line as water and warmth is more of a requirement than food will ever be. 

Two of my packs are SAR packs.  One is intended for wilderness and one for urban.  However to my confusion most of the time they have us using the urban one even in wooded environments.  These are packed to specifications.  We have a blue plastic tarp for shelter.  I would put a better one in there but we use those for carrying victims and all kinds of things and I don't want to tear up an expensive tarp when I can just replace that one ever few uses.  Anyway those packs have enough to get by easily.  What is totally bizarre to me is they also require that we carry a PSK but the thing is in a quart ziplock bag and is too big to only carry in the pack.  If I have my pack why do I need this stupid bag of junk.  Up until just a couple of months ago you were required to have two quarters in the kit.  Quick deploy a search team to find a pay phone.  To me this is the most worthless PSK of all time.  And you are required to have one in both your wilderness pack and urban pack.  Added weight and little to no value. 

My backpacking pack is the ultralight long distance pack that has everything you need to survive for several days in pretty good comfort.  So during those trips the PSK would only come into play if a bear steals my pack or I get lost from camp while using the rest room. 

My daypack is the typical bushcraft small military style.  Right now it has two shelters in it.  LOL  It has that Gatewood cape I reviewed and a tarp.  It would not be as comfortable as my regular backpacking pack but I would be just fine if I had to spend a night or two with it.  At some point I should do a break down and let the experts here critique it. 

Call it want you want.  A PSK or just redundant gear but I want at least three items in my pocket just in case I get seperated from my pack.  Knife, way to make fire, and compass.  I guess maybe someone will say I am overly paranoid since I normally have my belt knife with a firesteel and my good compass in my pocket anyway.  It is not paranoia as I have no expectation of every needing those things but I like knowing they are there. 

Offline Highlife

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2015, 03:50:38 PM »
I think it COULD be feasible, but why? Won't most pockets fit a ziplock?

After the Pot & Machete challenge, I'd say two critical pieces missing are a durable water container and at least a full sized knife (if not a big knife). A bag and tablets is a joke compared to a metal pot or bottle and a tiny SAK is not going to work like a bigger knife for firewood, shelter, etc (especially when time, energy and morale are key). Breaking down wood/collecting sticks won't cut it when your dependent on the fire for warmth all night...

Other than that, I suppose a ferro rod, a space blanket, a drum liner, some fishing tackle, a compass, water tabs, a small flashlight, small knife for light tasks, and some wire/small cordage would be sufficient for a couple uncomfortable moderately comfortable nights in the woods (with dry-ish, 32* or higher weather).

I'll say that any further complications make things much more difficult (wet, lost, immobile, below freezing, etc.).
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Offline hiwa

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2015, 04:50:56 PM »
Over the years I made a couple of small ones in tins and/or a micro-Pelican case. I've never used them...ever. I think an Altoids tin or whatever is just too small. I always have blades on me and fire ability , so my other immediate needs would be first aid , tarp , water , nav., and signalling. which need to go in the pack.

A lot of guys say , " what if you lose your pack?" 

The only way I see me losing my pack is if I have to throw it to a bear that's chasing me ( highly unlikely) or if someone took it at gunpoint ( also unlikely). If either of those happen , I got bigger problems anyhow.

The only place I could see it useful really is if you can't carry a pack , but I don't know of a situation where I can't do that.

Offline Duece111

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2015, 06:27:30 PM »
The one PSK i do carry in my pack is in a little gear pouch so i can put it on my belt or clip it on my jacket etc.it doesnt have much,fak,knife lighter space blanket cheap rain poncho,little scissors,one of those torch lighters,cupasoup,candle,tinder,matchsafe with whistle and button compass and mirror(cheap little  orange one)bit of paracord,i guess it could make a difference if i actually clipped it to my body then lost my pack. I have always liked the idea of small personal kits,when i was a kid i always wanted the SAK with the most goodies on it.then when leatherman came out i was in love,it was inevitable that i would get suckered into the pocket psk
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Offline Dano

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 06:11:45 AM »
I piped up a lot in the other thread, so I'll chime in on this one too.

My personal feelings on the small tin-based kits is that they simply can't carry what is really needed in a true survival situation.  They are best left to either organizing the smaller items in a regular pack, or for holding fire starting items.  (Plus they can be used to char natural items like punk wood, cedar bark, etc for making additional fire starting items.)

Storing smaller fish hooks/lures/jigs, keeping water purification tablets from getting crushed, small Bandaids, spare lighters and matches, charcloth or other fire makings, folded paper and small pencil for taking field notes, sewing/repair kit....this is what I see a tin being used for.  But none of these are "survival" based, stand-alone kits.  They are more like components of a system in my eyes.

I'm sure they can be supported, but the reality of things (to me) is that they simply can't contain enough of what is really needed to survive.  My main concern is that some folks might venture out thinking they are adequately prepared with one of these, when really they aren't.    Just my honest opinion....   

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2015, 06:55:36 AM »
I slept on this and went over some of my experiences.  We are actually testing how little we need to survive in central FL by doing it.  I believe this is the only way to get your psk down to the bare minimum yet adequate.  So many things you don't anticipate.

Ideally the progression in psk development for you and your stomping grounds would be....  do an overnight in mild weather with what you think you need.  Tweak it.  Do and overnight with your psk in the rain.  Tweak it.  Do an overnight with it in a cold rain.  Tweak it.  Do 3 days with it.  Tweak.

I know most people can't devote that much time to it.  Everybody would rather spend those precious free weekends having a good time in the woods.  Me too.  But if you're seriously thinking survival, I think you have to put it out there and live it.

The other option (one I practice a lot) is Hiwa's.  Take your pack.  If you set it down, don't lose eye contact with it.  Be extra careful around cliffs and water.  I watched another hiker set his pack down in Glacier Nat Park on a hanging trail and it instantly slid off the trail and went airborne for who knows how far. I've had to cut loose gear on the water to right a capsized boat caught in a strainer.

A word about the popular trash bag.  Ripped open and used as an augmentation to a shelter...great.  Rain gear?  Put one on and go for a hike in the rain.  See how dry you are in 30 min.  About the only thing it helps with is wind chill.

Don't even get me started on itty bitty blades and a condom for water...

Great topic.  And very timely for me.  I'm looking for the right blade (again).  The ideal high calorie bar (again).  etc.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2015, 08:11:34 AM »
 By the sound of most of the posts I'm not alone in my thinking that A- a personal survival kit when in an environment where there is a potential for being stranded without help nearby is a very serious consideration, and B-, there's not much that one could fit into an Altoids sized tin that is going to be of much help in those situations.
 What ever your kit contains,  in my opinion it should have several methods of starting a fire,  a water container capable of boiling water,  a sturdy knife, preferably a fixed blade, a decent tarp at least 5'x7' and some cordage,  some sort of hot drink mix and an energy bar of some kind to help build or keep up core temp in cold environments.
 What's certain is that these things won't fit into a sardine sized container,  more like it would be a haversack, fanny pack, or sling bag,  as has been stressed by others here is that once you think you have assembled a capable kit is that you take it out and give it an honest test even if it's just for a day hike.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2015, 09:54:25 AM »
  Another thought along these same lines that I think deserves it's own post is this,  while a lot of us pay close attention to our kits in trying to keep them compact and light weight while trying to insure that we will have all of the bases covered in an emergency situation,  the one thing that many of us don't think of, and that can't be packed in our bag of survival tricks is mental attitude.

 Yup, you guessed it,  another story.

 I've recounted in several post the story of my getting lost while hunting in a freak flash snow storm,  needless to say I survived my experience   :),  and learned some valuable lessons about real survival and what it takes as far a tools and skills to get one through the ordeal.
 You can have everything you need to survive comfortably in a wilderness emergency in your pack or kit, but if you aren't prepared mentally for the challenge,  your chances of survival may be slim.
 I found this out the hard way on the day that I found myself "twisted around" in the middle of that cedar swamp in a raging white out,  besides not being prepared with the right clothing and gear, I wasn't prepared for the shock of knowing I was in serious trouble.
 Once I realized that I was lost, that my compass had failed and that I had no way of telling direction I panicked, I started to sweat, I stared to run, in one direction then another trying to find some sign that I could remember from my walk into the area, but there were none,  and I had lost my ability to reason.
 In my case the feeling didn't last long, a few long minutes,  then I went back to where I was when I panicked, I sat down on a blowdown and lighted a smoke trying to get my thinking back and heart rate down,  I collected some standing dry wood and dead cedar branches and made a fire to get warm,  next I put a quick shelter together from cedar and spruce bows and then collected more firewood and covered that pile,  I had my USGI canteen and cup, I saved my water and melted some snow in my cup to get something hot inside of me.
 In my case I was lucky, since I didn't show up at the appointed time to meet my hunting buddies they set out to look for me,  they eventually fired some rifle shots and I was able to answer back with a shot, following the sound of the gunfire I eventually found them,  it turns out that I had traveled in a large circle and wasn't as deep into the forrest as I thought,  I had spent the better part of the day wet, cold, and worried, but got out before full dark.
 But for another young man caught in the same fix about five miles from where we were, he wasn't so lucky,  he was my age (late twenties),  a Navy man on leave, a Maine native, he was out deer hunting with his brother and another friend,  like me he found himself confused by the storm and lost his sense of direction,  the Game Wardens were notified and a search started,  but because of the storm not much could be done,  air search was out of the question until the storm abated, he was eventually found by a Game Warden Service Chopper on the morning of his second day of being lost, he was still alive but suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, and frostbite,  he survived and spent a couple of weeks in the hospital.
 When he was found he was only wearing a Tee shirt, his pants and hunting boots,  his shirt, coat, hat, and gloves were nowhere to be found,  he had a belt knife with him but his rifle and pack if he had one were also missing.
 Later in the hospital when he was able to talk,  he told the warden and state trooper that was there to investigate his story that he couldn't remember anything that happened to him after being lost except that he woke up and a moose was standing over him sniffing at him and then nothing after that until waking up in the hospital.
 The point of this story is that for most people that have never experienced being lost,  panic is an overpowering feeling that happens in everybody,  when I was training to become a hunter safety instructor for my state we were told many stories about people who have been lost that were found naked or in various stages of undress,  that is caused by fear, it makes a person overheat even in the coldest of weather they have a tendency to shed their clothing, they stop thinking rationally and walk or run in a state of panic and leave their clothes, packs, even guns behind.
  While this may sound foolish to some people it happens more often than not with those facing such a situation,  so not only is it important to have a good kit and the skills to survive, it's just as important to be mentally prepared to face such an emergency.
 
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Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2015, 10:39:02 AM »
Yup.  And it's very hard to foretell how you'll react if it happens to you.  And you may react differently depending on your mood going in.

Which is why training is a very good idea.  Training saved my ass cave diving countless times.  Same with sky diving.  Progressive experience prepared me for oopsies rock climbing mountaineering, whitewater, etc.  Why should this be any different?

We tripped on a flood stage river once.  Nobody had any experience with flood stage paddling.  It was flat water but that made no difference.  I tried to gently coach about the dangers, especially near the bank and if they swam.  They weren't listening.  If I hadn't been there done that (with experienced people) I probably wouldn't have either.  We had close calls and still the warning bells didn't go off with most.  We made it out with no real incidents, but it could've been a very  different story.  Things can go south in a second.  Then cascade into disaster.  I don't think anybody realized how close they'ld come to a tragedy several times.

Every time I go out real minimal I learn something.  And a few weeks ago I showed myself I can still get caught with my pants down.  But I didn't panic.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2015, 10:53:27 AM »
One other thought while we're here.  If you don't work at a physical job, the work involved in survival will wear you out fast.  You'll experience sleep depravation.  You'll be tired and hungry.  Probably neglect or be able to hydrate enough.  Then dehydration will work you.  Mentally, physically, and emotionally you'll not go downhill...you'll be there before you know it.  Then it's too late unless you can mentally overcome and persevere.

Being mentally AND physically fit are equally important.

We are friends with a couple that have awesome bug out backpacks.  That weigh about 80 lbs.  Neither of them can walk far to their deer stands without taking breaks.  I wonder if they've even tried to get the waist belt around them lately.

So much more to a "survival" situation than you can anticipate in the Barcalounger...
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2015, 10:56:49 AM »
How many folks on meds include a few days supply in their Alltoids psk?
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2015, 11:12:04 AM »
I guess thinking an Altoids can will contain everything you will need in an emergency is the fabled "kit mentality".  Frankly, I'm a guy who would like to figure out how to put a piano in my pack.  My smallest PSK is in a USMC First Aid Pouch that is about 4"x5"x8".  I did not include a Grabber Emergency Blanket or a Tarp or a Hatchet but I have all of those in my truck.  I buy into the idea that survival is not how comfortable you can be but whether you can live through an emergency at all.  Take what really counts: knife, fire starter with tinder, E-Blanket (or two), metal pot, purification tabs, FAK, compass.  The meds is a great suggestion that I have incorporated into my large pack.  I have fishing kits but frankly, I doubt I could catch anything from the bank in my area.  However, my truck pack would keep me comfortably alive for 3-4 days easy.  Unless the Spam goes bad.  :-\ 
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Offline Draco

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2015, 11:55:24 AM »


Don't even get me started on itty bitty blades and a condom for water...



That is a good one Max.  Damn condoms don't always work to hold the little bit of stuff they are made to hold.  Worthless for water and really there are much better options that are made to hold large water samples like the whirl packs.   

Offline Draco

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2015, 11:59:06 AM »
What's certain is that these things won't fit into a sardine sized container,  more like it would be a haversack, fanny pack, or sling bag,  as has been stressed by others here is that once you think you have assembled a capable kit is that you take it out and give it an honest test even if it's just for a day hike.

Agreed.  This is what drives me crazy.  I see it all the time on youtube.  Self proclaimed survival experts showing their bug out bag when it is clear from the gadgets they choose they have never spent a night in the woods.  My experience has been that if you have not tested your gear in real world conditions it will not work as expected when it is. 

Offline capnstabby

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2015, 12:48:39 PM »
Am I wrong but half of the fun is finding out what works for you and what doesn't and constantly evolving kit. My kit is rarely the same twice.  The struggle for the perfect item or the best kit the best representations of needed and unnecessary  items for the love of the game and the spiritual self reflection

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2015, 01:00:29 PM »
Am I wrong but half of the fun is finding out what works for you and what doesn't and constantly evolving kit. My kit is rarely the same twice.  The struggle for the perfect item or the best kit the best representations of needed and unnecessary  items for the love of the game and the spiritual self reflection

I have no problem with fun and the "love of the game".  And I'll shouldn't disparage the hobby.  Survival isn't fun and it isn't a game.  So I guess it's a question of purpose.  Heck I play around with all kinds of things.  Yes, "survival" kits too.  But when it comes to the real thing.  No games.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline capnstabby

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2015, 01:07:58 PM »
Agreed I spent 2 nights in uncharted woods after tracking a deer good thing I keep a fire kit in my hunting pack or else it would have been deadly. in "survival" your not playing but would agree that something is better than nothing at the Time my emergency kit for hunting was a Bic lighter ,waterproof matches and some vasaline soaked cotton balls and yes I found the deer the the day after I got lost and ate some of him 

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2015, 01:10:08 PM »
LOL.  Yeah.  I've carried that same psk myself.  ;)
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Draco

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2015, 01:41:11 PM »
Am I wrong but half of the fun is finding out what works for you and what doesn't and constantly evolving kit. My kit is rarely the same twice.  The struggle for the perfect item or the best kit the best representations of needed and unnecessary  items for the love of the game and the spiritual self reflection

After every trip I evaluate the gear I took and how it performed.  But I must say I am to the point where it does not change very much.  The last change I made was I swapped out my cat hole trowl with a new titanium one from Lawson Equipment.  I liked it so well I bought one for every pack.

http://lawsonequipment.com/Accessories/Titanium-Deuce-Scoop-p1017.html

I will always evaluate my gear but there has to be a need to change something.  And most times when I do want to try an new piece of gear it goes along on a day trip to test.  If it passes that then it will probably go along as an extra for a over night to test under those conditions.  Then I decide if it replaces something else. 

Offline capnstabby

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2015, 05:45:11 PM »
Good points but back to the topic if your making a psk to accompany a hunting bag or mountain bike pack or a fishing tackle box yes I think an altoid amount of items is sufficient due to the fact that this little tin of what could be separating you from death is a small enough item to stash anywhere and as far as the items inside I have means to make fire, water purification tablets bank line and 2 big needles

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2015, 07:50:22 PM »
Damn condoms don't always work to hold the little bit of stuff they are made to hold.   


which is why that long ago I decided that Saran wrap is the only way to go... Just have to be careful in the handling of anything you put in it...
 ;D


ROFLMAO


And...


    Although Ziplock bags in the quart to gallon size might work better, & gives a person longer lasting durability... there is a loss of performance if kept to close to heat for too long a time.... Hot rocks may melt the whole thing, if used without close supervision & making sure to keep everything moist during that type of use is recommended..
 ;D


  Heh heh.
 ;)
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Punty

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2015, 05:56:58 AM »
  Not really into the altoid kits.

  I do carry, in my pockets, every day, the following;

Right Pocket: Cold Steel Voyager XL - 5" folding knife...it;s the closest thing to a survival knife I can get away with.

Left pocket: Leatherman PST (the original leatherman), and a Cree Ultrafire flashlight.

I also carry a Stanley Adventure Bottle, nested in a 450ML titanium mug and a stand from the Swiss Army M gel stove, and a small organizer with a ferro rod, a lighter, a cheapo emergency blanket, a 2.5 inch folding knife, a sharpie, and about 6 feet of paracord...in two pieces...but that is mainly because from time to time I use that to practice knots when I have a few minutes and I'm bored.

   So...I guess I have a PSK of sorts, but it sure isn't an Altoid tin PSK.

  If I DID carry an Altoid survival kit, I think it would be the tin itself, with a lighter, a ferro rod, and some jute twine. Basically a pocket fire kit. Maybe some bandaids and those little packs of antibiotic.

   I'd rather have 2 or 3 things that will work for sure, and be useful for sure...than a dozen things that will probably fail if called upon.

   I have a big beef with the razor blades people put in those kits, also.....razor blades can do a LOT of damage to yourself..they can cut really deep, and I have yet to figure out what sort of cuttting it can do that I can't manage without it. Cut cord?  I have a lighter for that if I need to. A lighter is a lot less dangerous.

  Imagine trying to cut a piece of cord with one of those razor blades....holding the cord in one hand, and the razor in the other...while you are borderline hypothermic, shivering, and groggy from lack of sleep. "Oh! Oops. Is that an artery?"

  Yeah....just take that razor blade OUT of those Altoid tins and do yourself a favor, OK folks?

  Forget the "two is one and one is none" stuff.....sometimes "None is better than one", and those loose razor blades are a great example.
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
Ecclesiastes 10:10

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2015, 06:55:39 AM »
I've been hooked on candy tin PSK's since I was five years old.
The son of a family friend was in Cub Scouts and I saw my first PSK in his Cub Book.
This would be '78 or '79 ish.
When I was a kid in Scouts, I thought my little tin kits were awesome. They weren't

Anyway, I have a love hate relationship with them now.
I love to play with them and try to squeeze in the best most useful gear I can.
I hate the fact that for shelter I always come up short.

I saw a guy on you tube and he squeezed in a space blanket and dispensed with the useless stuff like fishing kit, snare wire etc.

I found some tins at the local craft store that are about 50% bigger than the standard Altoids tin.
Same depth, longer and a bit wider but sill fits in a back pocket. No hinge on the lid.
In this I was able to put:
space blanket
string
SAK Hiker (red handle scales removed)
wire saw with two split rings
spark stick
Bic Mini
PJCB in a crack sack
mirror
whistle
compass
1 quart zip lock bag
tin foil
12 clorine dioxide tablets
4 gauze bandaids
2x2 gauze pad
duct tape on inner and outer tin surfaces
10 safety pins
sail makers needle
photon light

This was the first PSK that I thought covered all the bases. I went out and trialed it for a couple of overnights and low and behold, it worked as a stand alone system.
That was fine but I got to thinking, in what situation would I be in the woods with only that kit? Answer, none.

Shortly after this, my GF gave me a pouch she made by weaving paracord. She made it to fit an Altoids tin. It has a belt loop.
One deficiency of the kit I listed above was that the nylon string in the kit was not very long.
This pouch has several meters of paracord and so I repacked an altoids tin and started carrying it.
It contains:
compass
whistle
photon light
spark stick
PJCB in crack sack
SAK Hiker
wire saw
tin foil
1 quart zip lock bag
12 chlorine dioxide tablets.

Shelter is lacking in this version. That's okay though because my current philosopy is that a PSK is not supposed to be a standalone survival kit. It is to suplement the gear I normally carry in case of breakage, loss or more likely forgetting to bring it.

All this being said, the PSK is a hobby, game, mental exercise etc. In the last seven years or so I've read and watched everything I could find by Mors Kochanski, Ron Hood, Cody Lundin and Andre Bourbeau. To me, they dispense with the Lofty Wiseman SAS Survival Manual type "training" and break it down to the basics: stay calm, stay dry, stay warm, stay hydrated and get some sleep.

I decided on Sunday to go out for two hours and see what I could accomplish with just a Bic. (I had lots of gear but only used the Bic and my knife).
I created a log lean to and bed as recommended by both Kochanski and Bourbeau. I got a big long fire going.
Two hours give or take a few minutes and that included the hike in and the time to find a location.
It was an eye opener to see how much could be done with nothing and I was impressed at how much the log lean to absorbed the heat from the fire.

PSK, shmee-esss-kay! Proper gear trumps a candy box every time and knowledge coupled with training and experience trumps gear.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 08:11:17 AM by Yeoman »
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Offline Indiana Hillbilly

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2015, 08:06:53 AM »
I don,t carry one as an edc. When i go to the woods whether it be hunting or just to get out, I do carry some sort of psk.
Don,t know why really? If I had to survive on that kit for say 72 hrs it would suck.

I carry on me or in my bag, a condor 5x7 pouch with:
gallon ziplock bag and water tabs
bic lighter
ferro rod
micro inferno
mag lens
tinder quick
emergency space blanket
bank line
whistle
sail needle
signal mirror
duct tape
2x2 aluminum foil
small sog knife
and i always have my leatherman rebar on my side

It would suck to spend the night in the woods with just that stuff. Just my two cents

Offline kanukkarhu

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Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2015, 09:09:46 AM »
Like many others, I too went through a PSK phase. For me, it was also introduced by another forum. It didn't last - obviously - but I did learn a few things:

The standard tin we all refer to cannot carry enough for the average person to survive on, especially in bad weather, IMHO. The blade, for starters, would be useless for all but small camp chores (cleaning a squirrel, for example). But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be in there. Just because some of the stuff is smallish doesn't make it all useless...

Because I think there are some very useful things that do fit in these smallish PSKs. For example, a fire kit. Also, some snare wire and some fishing line and a few jigs. And more, of course.

Just that some of the small things aren't really that useful, IMHO.

As far as some guys saying stuff like "I can boil water in the tin..." And whatnot, I think that's utter nonsense and largely academic. And that's when it ceases being based in reality and more a kind of 'survival game.' (No offence for those who are big into this.) But I've read so much about how people plan on using their tiny survival tools in these kits, saying they've got this or that "C" covered. That kind of makes me shake my head sometimes... Again, ymmv.

For me, a tin is a PART of the gear that you're always carrying while outdoors. Another way to store some smaller useful items.


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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2015, 09:11:11 AM »
  I have been enjoying this topic. Thanks Moe for making it, and those participating.


 :thumbsup:


  I don't carry a PSK per se. Closest I got to carrying something like it "on purpose" was from the past, and it was during the times when I was aircrew in the Corps; since we wore a combined flotation and survival vest when on any mission. It was required gear, just as much or more than our flight helmets, suits & boots. It carried a lot of things in it. Not gonna mention them all the items, since you could look them up in a search engine if needed. GOnna be a long post anyway...LOL
 ;)


  I do carry a sharp knife with me at all times. I have a diamond plate for sharpening in my wallet, along with a fresnel lens. I can whistle loudly with the best of them using my mouth. I also carry daily in my pockets a John Wayne/P-38, a small short F-rod, a small keychain flashlite, lighter and usually some paracord, as I am another who likes to tie knots for fun. That & I wear ankle high boots pert near 99% of the time, so there is more cordage there if necessary. [ BTW, IMO if I did have to use that boot cordage, I am well able to take a couple of short sections to tie the boots & still have most of the line left over. This crap about not doing that by a certain TV survival "expert" is hogwash. If ya need it, use it...it is simply improvisation in a dire circumstance.] anyway, With those items, I can make do for a time without carrying more, with skills & knowledge there as part of that daily carry.


  Most all of the time when I am out in the sticks, I usually have some sort of a belt bag, or satchel, holding a container like a SS water bottle/canteen& cup, etc., or at least some cans of a favorite beverage. Along with what ever other items I might use for a light weight short trip, like F&S & a FAK. These bags or pouch are attached to my body with a belt or a strap & are as unlikely to get misplaced or lost as one of my boots, or my trousers. So basically I am usually carrying basic items that could get me by for a few days  or even longer without having to carry a specially made lil kit in a tin.


   Those who want to make these PSK deals are welcome to it & I can imagine the thought processes that are put into making them. It is just not "me, nor my "style" to have a specially made one. I prefer to have the skills and knowledge & personal motivation/mentality to "take the hill!" and survive what is tossed at me in the woods. If I don't survive... Well, at least I went out in a place I love to be.
 :D


   I do have a couple questions for those who do carry them & carry certain items. Maybe they will get answered, maybe not. Some folks already have answered the first one. Don't recall anyone mentioning the second one. Anyway, here a just a couple...


  1) Just how long to you think you will need to survive using that PSK?


      [ 72 hours(3 days)to a week? More? And do ya think you will be needing to trap or fish, during that time? Do you think that lil tin is enough to boil water enough times to keep you supplied with potable water? How will you carry water?<Just some things to ponder on. I have. ;) ]


   2) Do you carry some First Aid items or a kit in/along with the PSK?


      [Might be a good idea. Since, if you are in a "deep caca" situation, you are likely injured, or possibly will be before it is over. If you got the rest of the kit covered, why not some F.A. items... Injuries can happen Any time & more often than the need for a PSK. What got you into the "survival situation" in the first place & is an injury likely? << something else to think about,eh... ;) ]


  Not trying to be a smart butt with the questions. I just wonder if the same amount of thought that goes into the making of these PSKs, involves thinking about what you might be doing during the time you are surviving & the likelihood & feasibility of some of those items getting used during that time.


Just "thinking aloud" ya might say.
 ;)


 I like what Yeoman said at the end of his post, so I will quote it:


PSK, shmee-esss-kay! Proper gear trumps a candy box every time and knowledge coupled with training and experience trumps gear.


I agree.
 ;)


Thanks again for the topic & to those who have taken the time to post their thou ghts.
 :thumbsup:


 :D

  P.S. - I see KK has posted,but I am gonna post this anyway without reading his comments first. This one is long enough, right?
:)

   


   
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2015, 09:39:23 AM »
1.  72 hours.  But I can stretch that a lot with the new psk plan.  The only sketchy situation would be stranded on saltwater or stranded on a key with no fresh water.  tic tock.  My wife shrugs off 1 unexpected extra night.  2,  and she'ld have a search and rescue team out looking for me.  If she were out of town my next door neighbor would do the same.  Kelly and I went fishing in the Gulf once and decided to spend the night.  My neighbor called the Coast Guard.  LOL.  Fortunately there wasn't a big fuss or expenditure before we popped up.

2. FAK.  I used to carry triple antibiotic ointment and duct tape.  LOL.  After Greyhound352 sliced open his hand on a P&M (and growing a little older), I carry a more comprehensive kit...most of the time.  ;)
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2015, 10:32:17 AM »
MnSportsman's comments and questions are thought provoking.
1. How long do I expect to last if I had to use a PSK? Simply put, until I get found or find a way out. The statistical average in my area is less than three days for rescue. That being said, if I can stay calm, keep hydrated, get some sleep and prevent hypothermia, I should be able to last until I starve to death; call that 3-4 weeks or so. As for hunting, fishing and snaring, I don't put any faith, effort or time into it.
2. As for a FAK, I have relatively good training and experience. MY FAK is designed around minor wound care with the ability to stop major arterial bleeding if required.
I usually carry a small version in a small ziplock on my person always when in the woods and a larger version in my pack or satchel if I've got a hatchet, saw or axe.
Much more important to bring a FAK along as part my normal gear than to have a PSK to supplement my normal gear.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2015, 11:33:27 AM »
  Funny thing about PSK's and these kinds of discussions is that they can be so varied,  what one chooses in the way of items and what they are packed in is dependent on so many variables,  location, time of year, type of weather, the environment in which one will be out in,  such as heavily wooded or desert,  mild temps or freezing ass cold.
  As far as how long one should plan for,  I agree with Max and JB,  72 hours is about right,  while some people have had to survive for longer periods, I think the average rescue time or walk out time (self rescue) is about three days.
 My limited survival training has shown me that the first three day are the most critical, even in a long term situation,  we know also that in most situations the most important issues that need to be resolved is shelter, fire, and water ( necessarily in that order depending on the situation),  keeping up ones core temp to stave off hypothermia,  water to stay hydrated.
 Baring injury,  the first three days will be when you have the most energy and strength with which to build your base of survival,  depending on what you have to deal with and the resources you have available the longer you are surviving the weaker you will get, if you have been able to build a shelter, make a sustainable fire, and find decent water that can be made drinkable you can try to find food.
 As we all know a person can survive up to 30 days without food,  what a lot of people don't think about is that every day past three days without food your body is now eating itself up,  you will be getting weaker every day,  your ability to think and reason will also be affected,  so the quicker you find food after getting the big three squared away the better,  so a small fishing kit and something to use for snares is not a bad idea.
 I agree with most here,  unless you are a full time survival expert like Matt Graham or Cody Lundin,  you're going to need more gear than you can carry in a pocket sized kit,  when I was a kid and indestructible  ;) I didn't give first aid much thought, if I did carry a first aid kit it wasn't much more than a couple of old wrinkled up bandaid strips,  a lot of years and several injuries later I carry a real first aid kit capable of servicing three people, the expense and weight is cheap insurance.
 Speaking about injuries,  making a fire with matches, flint & steel, or a ferro rod can be almost impossible with an injured hand or arm,  Bic type lighters work great one handed unless it's real cold or they get wet, then you're S--- out of luck,  which is a good reason to carry a full sized knife with a sharp spine and a full sized ferro rod,  I would suggest everyone learn to use them one handed and practice the method until you get it down pat.
 You can buy a cheap but durable light weight and compact 5'x7' camping tarp at Walmart for $10.00,  there's really no reason not to have one,  a no name Stainless steel water bottle costs $5.00, and a SS cup with folding handles is not much more,  an extra large cotten bandanna is invaluable in a survival kit,  make one out of an old bed sheet if you have to.
 A decent fire kit should have the usual bic lighter, ferro rod, and F&S, in it,  but it should also have the makings,  cotton balls or drier lint,  a few pieces of fat wood, some birch bark,  a strip of jute twine, also good to have is a piece of chared lamp wick, and the stub of a candle,  a small stub of a household candle will burn a lot longer than most tinder's and will dry wet tinder to help get your fire started.
 And as long as you have to have a bigger kit than a candy tin,  you might as well throw in a few envelopes of hot chocolate, instant oatmeal, and a couple of coffee and tea bags while you're at it (you might get lost in a hardwood forrest and can't get pine needles   :doh: .
 
 What ever you choose to carry for a survival kit,  be realistic in what you put into it,  the object of the kit is not to see how small you can make it,  it's how far it can go to help you survive in the worst possible situation,  not the best possible situation. 
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2015, 11:40:05 AM »
   
 What ever you choose to carry for a survival kit,  be realistic in what you put into itthe object of the kit is not to see how small you can make it,  it's how far it can go to help you survive in the worst possible situation,  not the best possible situation.


^ A key point^ no matter who, or where you are.
:thumbsup:
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline xj35s

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2015, 01:05:02 PM »
Here is a favorite link of mine. I go back to it often. My bag is on there. I have added a Mora and a ultraviolet water purifier to it.
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=4093.msg97236#msg97236

The hand grenade challenge by wilderbeast is a good read also.
http://bladesandbushlore.com/index.php?topic=4791.msg95384#msg95384

I like to just carry my swiss, ferro, and 9v L.ED. flashlight Daily.
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2015, 01:12:15 PM »
An ADEQUATE FAK is one of the most important things you can carry with you into the bush......most of us, sorry to say, have learned what INADEQUATE FAKs are through personal experience. :P   Most of you experienced guys are trying to beat that fact into everyone's head that has been lucky enough not to be in that one disaterous and unexpected situation.......... YET!  Once you are in that situation of not being adequately prepared to meet & deal with an emergency, it is is too late to make amends.  All of us were lucky enough to live through it, but for those that have not yet been there, take it from us that have, SCHIDT HAPPENS!  Be prepared for the worst!  I won't bore you with my tale of woe, but it was an eye-opener for me.  A couple of band aids, some burn ointment, a 2X2 gauze pad and a few inches of tape AIN'T ADEQUATE!

As far as Altoids tins go, I say keep it full of ALTOIDS.......serio usly!  As is most likely the case, you are going to be found by SAR within 72 hours.  Just sucking on an Altoids tablet every few hours will create a psychological boost, stave off hunger pangs, give a very slight energy boost and act as a 'chaser' for any off-tasting water that you've boiled, but which may not taste like a fresh bottle of Evian spring water from the corner Casey's Store.  Concentrate on preserving and maintaining core temperature with shelter & fire.....you are much more likely to die of hypothermia or hyperthermia than starvation. :thumbsup:
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 07:14:00 PM by wolfy »
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2015, 01:39:57 PM »
An ADEQUATE FAK is one of the most important things you can carry with you into the bush......most of us, sorry to say, have learned what INADEQUATE FAKs are through personal experience. :P   Most of you experienced guys are trying to beat that fact into everyone's head that has been lucky enough not to be in that one disaterous and unexpected situation.......... YET!  Once you are in that situation of not being adequately prepared to meet & deal with an emergency, it is is too late to make amends.  All of us were lucky enough to live through it, but for those that have not yet been there, take it from us that have, SCHIDT HAPPENS!  Be prepared for the worst!  I won't bore you with my tale of woe, but it was an eye-opener for me.  A couple of band aids, some burn ointment, a 2X2 gauze pad and a few inches of tape AIN'T ADEQUATE!

As far as Altoids tins go, I say keep it full of ALTOIDS.......serio usly!  As is most likely the case, you are going to be found by SAR within 72 hours.  Just sucking on an Altoids tablet every few hours will create a psychological boost, stave off hunger pangs, give a very slight energy boost and act as a 'chaser' for any off-tasting water that you've boiled, but which may not taste like a fresh bottle of Evian spring water from the corner Casey's Store.  Concentrate on preserving and maintaining core temperature with shelter & fire.....you are much more likely to die of hyperthermia than starvation. :thumbsup:

    Well said Craig.    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    I just got a big kick out of xj35's link to a video in this thread,  the star is showing off his new PSK made from a small lip balm tin,  you have to watch it to get the full impact of just how screwed the guy is going to be if he ever has to use it to survive outside of his living room.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2015, 03:24:29 PM »
I really like this topic.

Someone mentioned earlier that a water bottle kit is a more practical size, and I agree. You can get a lot more practical items into a wide mouth stainless water bottle than you can a mint tin. Those tins are handy for making charcloth and for fire kits. There is enough room for a ferro rod, a steel striker, flint, char, tinder, a tea light candle and a magnifier. Makes a great "PFK" (personal fire kit).

As for contents, well that's good to discuss as well but I won't go into it here.

I'll just say that I think the best way to design a survival kit is to go on a 3 day backpacking trip in the area where you might need the survival kit. After the trip, take out everything you didn't use. Then take out everything you didn't need. Then replace any items (tent, cookware, etc.) with as small and light an item as is actually practical. Throw in some first aid gear and you have a realistically stocked, practical survival kit. And there is no way it will fit in a mint tin.

By "actually practical" I mean a reasonable alternative. Like replacing a tent with a bivvy bag, a big pot with a smaller pot (or losing the pot altogether in favor of a steel water bottle), replacing a fishing rod and reel with a spool of line, etc. Replacing a tent with a garbage bag is not actually practical. replacing a canteen with a condom is not actually practical. Replacing a 4" fixed blade knife with a scalpel blade is not practical. You get the idea.

Offline Draco

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2015, 04:30:18 PM »
Well Craig I guess I am one of those people.  I really don't carry an adequate FAK.  Won't my bandana do it all?  This might be the thing that bites me someday. 

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2015, 04:44:03 PM »
Jeez.  A reasonable discussion about a reasonable Emergency Bag.  I guess that's why we're here and not elsewhere... :)
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Offline RedBeard

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2015, 05:00:58 PM »
In keeping with PW's "PFK" idea, I do carry a PSK of sorts but it definitely wouldn't fit into a single candy tin. Multiple candy tins carried in pockets isn't a bad way to start. I have 1 that contains a fire kit (ferro rod, bic lighter, cotton balls, magnifier, duct tape and wrapped shut with a ranger band), one that holds a basic FAK (gauze, tape, small amount of Quick-Klot and a tourniquet), and another that has some water purification stuff, a wire saw, a button compass and keychain light. So if I somehow lost my whole kit I would have those stashed away in my pockets with my belt knife and a water bottle on my hip (I'm assuming I didn't loose pants) I'm confident I could survive relatively comfortably until I got rescued or got out. That being said, I don't go out without being dressed for the worst possible weather and without a belt knife.
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Offline MnSportsman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2015, 06:12:55 PM »
Jeez.  A reasonable discussion about a reasonable Emergency Bag.  I guess that's why we're here and not elsewhere... :)


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And....

Glad to see that I am not alone in thinking that having an F.A. kit, is not just some fancy thing to think about. LOL
 ;D

I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2015, 06:49:34 PM »
In keeping with PW's "PFK" idea, I do carry a PSK of sorts but it definitely wouldn't fit into a single candy tin. Multiple candy tins carried in pockets isn't a bad way to start. I have 1 that contains a fire kit (ferro rod, bic lighter, cotton balls, magnifier, duct tape and wrapped shut with a ranger band), one that holds a basic FAK (gauze, tape, small amount of Quick-Klot and a tourniquet), and another that has some water purification stuff, a wire saw, a button compass and keychain light. So if I somehow lost my whole kit I would have those stashed away in my pockets with my belt knife and a water bottle on my hip (I'm assuming I didn't loose pants) I'm confident I could survive relatively comfortably until I got rescued or got out. That being said, I don't go out without being dressed for the worst possible weather and without a belt knife.

That's a big deal, in my opinion. If you are dressed for middle of the night cold, snowy and raining with the wind blowing, then you stand a good chance of making it through the night even if everything else fails.

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2015, 06:57:23 PM »
One night in proper clothing is a cakewalk.  That second day is what will test you.  And it goes downhill from there.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2015, 07:18:16 PM »

One night in proper clothing is a cakewalk.  That second day is what will test you.  And it goes downhill from there.
Although I think I know what you are getting at, I disagree a bit.
Even if you're dressed well, the first night out with minimal gear is no cakewalk.
What that good clothing allows you to do is to survive the first night. Second day you have adequate time to find/construct/improve shelter and gather a crap-ton of wood and figure out water provision. Second night is usually better.
In my experience, that hardest part is accepting you are lost and avoiding panic. Once you control the first few seconds/minutes, everything gets easier not harder. The problem after shelter, fire and water are taken care of is dealing with boredom and hunger (hunger, not starvation!)
Les Stroud, in the forward to one of Andre-Francois Bourbeau's books, basically says people who are properly prepared for emergencies are less likely to have them. I generally agree. However, when I see most PSKs that people put together and listen to their expectations of them, I realize that Darwin may have been wrong.


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Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2015, 07:23:02 PM »
Smile.  We'll have to agree to disagree.  Which is ok.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2015, 11:08:02 PM »
One night in proper clothing is a cakewalk.  That second day is what will test you.  And it goes downhill from there.

Precisely why proper clothing is perhaps the single most important bit of survival gear. I would take warm, dry clothes and solid boots designed for the conditions over a tiny psk in almost every situation if I had to pick one or the other. Tropical islands being a possible exception, though mosquitoes can be brutal.

Proper clothing is "wearable shelter". 

The psychological component is certainly going to make things more difficult. Even if physically your body has what it needs as far as thermal regulation and hydration, hunger and discomfort take a toll. I turn into a grouch if I miss breakfast and go into the afternoon before I eat, and that's in the comfort of home.

Offline Yeoman

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #46 on: February 04, 2015, 05:58:35 AM »
Smile.  We'll have to agree to disagree.  Which is ok.

 :D
One of the best things about this forum compared to many others is that we can and do disagree respectfully for the most part.
And in saying I disagreed with you, I should have also said, I don't necessarily think you're wrong and I'm right.
We just have different perspectives: most obviously based on climate and terrain. Different experiences too.
The value of good clothing diminishes if it cannot be dried out, kept clean and repaired etc.
The first night out, the clothing should be at it's best and should protect you and allow you to function while you have the most energy.
Starting the second day/night your blood sugar levels will be severely depleted until your body can start metabolizing your fat stores efficiently.
That takes 3-5 days and the process is interupted if you consume carbohydrates during that time. That's what's behind the theory that you'll live longer
by eating nothing than eating insufficient amounts.
Being tired, cranky and depressed are all symtoms of hunger/starvation, but hey, you'll still be alive.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #47 on: February 04, 2015, 07:56:01 AM »
Smile.  We'll have to agree to disagree.  Which is ok.

 :D
One of the best things about this forum compared to many others is that we can and do disagree respectfully for the most part.
And in saying I disagreed with you, I should have also said, I don't necessarily think you're wrong and I'm right.
We just have different perspectives: most obviously based on climate and terrain. Different experiences too.
The value of good clothing diminishes if it cannot be dried out, kept clean and repaired etc.
The first night out, the clothing should be at it's best and should protect you and allow you to function while you have the most energy.
Starting the second day/night your blood sugar levels will be severely depleted until your body can start metabolizing your fat stores efficiently.
That takes 3-5 days and the process is interupted if you consume carbohydrates during that time. That's what's behind the theory that you'll live longer
by eating nothing than eating insufficient amounts.
Being tired, cranky and depressed are all symtoms of hunger/starvation, but hey, you'll still be alive.

  I agree with everything you've stated above,  what concerns me is that many people who enjoy the outdoors go through their lives without being embroiled in any real survival situation,  many of those learn through their experiences and what they read and see in video form.
  Like most here I have several books written by reliable "experts" on wilderness survival,  Larry Olsen, Mor's, Bradford Angiers to name a few,  they all go over the basic needs of survival such as shelter, fire and water,  and they usually include the rule of three's with the mention of you can live without food for thirty days, which is generally true depending on the individual.
 As I suggested in an earlier post here, being alive is sometimes not enough,  staying alive is more important,  being without food for a few days is as PW suggested,  uncomfortable to the point where you can get irritable,  but while your body can live off it's stored reserves, the lack of balance and an empty belly will make you sick, will inhibit your power to reason and make sound choices,  it will also rob you of the energy to maintain your physical condition and your will to do what has to be done to survive, in most people this starts to happen within a week or so without food.
 I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV,  but in my opinion a little bit of food is better than none, I could be all wet in my thinking but it seems like if I need 1500 calories a day to function at normal levels, if all I can take in is a small portion of that it still gives my body some fuel to keep me going that little bit further,  to think a little bit clearer.
 Another thought along the same lines, and again, I'm not a doctor,  but if memory serves me correctly the body will eat up muscle before it goes after stored fats.
 My whole point is that to think that a person can live on water alone without food for 30 days and continue to function as he did from the start or in any meaningful way is dangerous.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline madmax

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2015, 08:16:50 AM »
Coming fresh from 2 "adventures" involving little gear, cold (40's wet, 30's dry), and little food,  I'm in the camp of something in my gut is better than nothing.  Short term anyway. A little swamp cabbage and sour orange really seemed to help me.  I've done 4 days Pot and Machete style and want to push to 5.  I think the true psychological test will come somewhere there and beyond.  Especially solo.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 08:22:51 AM by madmax »
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Pocket PSK's and real survival ?
« Reply #49 on: February 04, 2015, 08:38:34 AM »
Moe......I'm no doctor either, but I prescribe 2 Altoids before bed & call me in the morning.  :lol:
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